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Morning Headlines: Portman Supports New Trade Deal; DeWine to Extend Services for At-Risk Students

a photo of Portman and Trump
Sen. Rob Portman supports President Trump's new trade deal with Canada and Mexico.

Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, Dec. 11:

  • Portman supports new trade deal;
  • DeWine to extend services for at-risk students;
  • Two former congressmen plan to challenge Trump for the White House;
  • Advocates push back after LaRose launched investigation into 350 noncitizens;
  • DeWine wants to upgrade interstate rest stops;
  • Parma City Schools proposes master plan;
  • Toledo man sentenced to six years in prison for planned attack;
  • Court orders Catholic Diocese of Columbus to release records;
  • Stormy Daniels' attorneys ask for judge to grant fees;
  • Hunters killed more deer than last year;
  • Topgolf to open near Cleveland;

Portman supports new trade deal
Republican Sen. Rob Portman is welcoming the House’s passage of President Donald Trump’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada. The Columbus Dispatch reports Portman believes the agreement between the U.S, Mexico, Canada agreement will benefit Ohio manufactures and farmers. Canada is Ohio’s largest export market with more than $21 billion in trade, or nearly 40% of the state’s output. Mexico accounts for nearly $7 billion in trade for Ohio. Democrat Sherrod Brown said he will review the House bill to ensure it benefits workers. He’ll have plenty of time as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will not vote on the trade deal until next year.

DeWine to extend services for at-risk students
Gov. Mike DeWine is promising to extend his commitment to so-called wraparound support services for at-risk students. Cleveland.com reports DeWine said he will push to add nearly $700 million for after-school programs, tutoring and counseling in the next state budget. Lawmakers this year approved $675 million for those wraparound programs. DeWine said school administrators need reassurance that funding will continue in order to hire specialists in serving at-risk youth. Republican leaders in the legislature said it’s too early to commit to future wraparound spending.

Two former congressmen plan to challenge Trump for the White House
Ohio Republican primary voters  could have a choice for their presidential candidate in March. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that two candidates are planning to oppose President Donald Trump for the nomination. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld and former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh have both launched challenges. The deadline to register for Ohio’s primary is Dec. 18. Weld said he plans to be on the Ohio ballot. The Enquirer said Walsh did not respond to inquiries. The Ohio Republican Party said it is firmly behind Trump’s nomination.

Advocates push back after LaRose launched investigation into 350 noncitizens
Voting rights advocates in Ohio are pushing back after the state's elections chief referred more than 350 apparent noncitizens for investigation last week. Eleven groups, including the League of Women Voters, the ACLU and Common Cause wrote to Secretary of State Frank LaRose and Attorney General Dave Yost. They said announcing such investigations when wrongdoing is rarely found is harmful. They urged officials to add trainings and boost multi-lingual educational programs to assure immigrants understand and aren't intimidated by the voting process. LaRose said voter fraud is rare but enforcing the law is the best way to keep it in check.

DeWine wants to upgrade interstate rest stops
Gov. Mike DeWine is promising an upgrade to Ohio’s interstate rest stops. Cleveland.com reports DeWine announced plans to renovate rest stops in three areas including along I-76 in Portage County. Ideas include kiosks with displays highlighting Ohio’s history and famous people. DeWine has formed a working group to recommend further improvements.

Parma City School proposes master plan
Parma City Schools has proposed a $263 million consolidation plan which includes closing and repurposing Parma Senior High School. Cleveland.com reports the project would require voters to pass a more than $6 million bond issue next fall. Superintendent Charles Smialek said the plan includes multiple phases of construction, including building two new campuses housing 6th through 12th grade students. The plan includes repurposing and renovating Parma Senior High School to house the district's offices. The second phase of the plan includes building six new elementary schools.

Toledo man sentenced to six years in prison for planned attack
An Ohio man accused of plotting with his girlfriend to obtain guns and explosives for a foiled domestic terror attack at a bar has been sentenced to six years in prison. Vincent Armstrong of Toledo was sentenced Tuesday. Armstrong, 24,  pleaded guilty in August to a charge related to conspiring to transport or receive an explosive with intent to harm. He will remain on probation for three years after his release. Prosecutors said Armstrong's girlfriend Elizabeth Lecron was the mastermind behind the planned attack. Armstrong said his roommate convinced him to not go through with the assault.

Court orders Catholic Diocese of Columbus to release records
A court in Franklin County has ordered the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus to release files on 14 clergy members who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor. The Columbus Dispatch reports it is part of an ongoing case against the diocese. A lawsuit filed in 2018 names the diocese, Bishop Frederick Campbell and St. Charles Preparatory School in Bexley. A former Bexley student, Kevin Heidtman, says he was molested by the late Monsignor Thomas Bennett 17 years ago. The 14 priests expected to be named in the released files have likely already been named in a list of 49 Columbus clergy the diocese says have already been accused of sexual abuse.

Stormy Daniels' attorneys ask for judge to grant fees
Lawyers for adult film actress Stormy Daniels are asking a judge to grant them attorney fees before competing claims on Daniels' settlement with the city of Columbus are dealt with. One of those claims is by lawyers for President Donald Trump, who said Daniels owes the president more than $293,000 after her defamation suit against Trump was dismissed. Earlier this year, the city of Columbus agreed to pay Daniels $450,000 over the porn actress's arrest at a strip club in 2018.

Hunters killed more deer than last year
Ohio hunters killed around 4.5% more deer this gun season, harvesting more than 63,000 deer. The gun season ran from Dec. 2 through Dec. 8. State wildlife officials said warm weather contributed to the increase. The deer gun season will have a two-day bonus weekend from Dec. 21 to Dec. 22. Deer muzzleloader season is Jan. 4 to Jan. 7.

Topgolf to open near Cleveland
A new high-tech driving range is set to open near Cleveland. Topgolf has announced that the facility along I-480 in Independence will open this Friday. It’s the Texas-based company’s third location in Ohio. Massive nets surround the three-tiered driving range. Golf balls, fed through automated tees, are imbedded with microchips that measure distance. The facility also includes a restaurant, bars, and a rooftop terrace.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.